It seems so mundane … until you don't have one! The exciting world of Apple laptop video adapters.

In STT on March 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Have you ever had an eagerly awaited presenter come to your library with their Mac laptop and not be able to hook up to your projector and thus deprive the audience an exciting multimedia presentation!?

I’ve had just this problem, or potential problem, come up twice in the past 24 hours, so if nothing else this is sign I need to write something for STT!  One of the pleasures of using a Mac laptop is that they don’t have good old standard VGA video connectors.  You know, that blue connector-port you plug your LCD projector in to on most Windows laptops.  But, Macs don’t have those … it’s an added bonus of having a Mac!

Experienced Mac presenters always carry their adapter with them, and buy an extra one too … it just takes one time and you never forget it again  … you never leave home without one! Mac laptops come with an adapter cable (sample here) and I bought extras which I keep with the NMRLS staff traveling projector.

The problem is that Apple in their infinite wisdom switched from a DVI connector (which is also found on many flat panel LCD monitors) and now use a totally new connection called Mini DisplayPort, see Wikipedia article here if you’re hankerin’ for more on this.

So, if someone buys a new Mac, than they’ll need a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter to hook up to a LCD projector.  If someone has bought a Mac before 2009, than that Mac (like ours at NMRLS), need either a DVI-to-VGA (MacBook Pro)  or mini-DVI-to-VGA (MacBook), and I have extras of both on hand at NMRLS!  Confusing isn’t it!? The adapters are usually  about $20-$30, you can find them at an Apple Store and sometimes even Best Buy.  Someday other laptops may use DisplayPort or DVI connectors too, but it’s going to be a long while as VGA are so entrenched …

Q.: So what to do if you want to be prepared for these connectivity issues vis-a-vis Mac laptops!?

A.: Your best bet is to ask the presenter what kind of laptop they’re using ahead of time and remind the Mac owners to bring their video adapter! Otherwise you would need at least 3 Mac adapters on hand, and who (other than me) wants to do that!?

  1. Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (all NEW Macs, laptop and desktop)
  2. DVI-to-VGA (MacBook Pro, pre-2009)
  3. mini-DVI-to-VGA (MacBook, pre-2009)

As a NMRLS member library, the good news is, if you find out ahead of time that your presenter has lost, or misplaced, or doesn’t know what you’re talking about ( … those Mac users!), then NMRLS can loan you an adapter by contacting Scott!

If your an Apple fan(!?), the good news is that all the new Mac laptops and desktops use the same video connection, Mini DisplayPortAt least for now!

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